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I need Linux tools to simplify my life as a developer, and to connect effortlessly to remote Linux servers. I would like to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux (with Ubuntu distro) but my laptop is already struggling with the current apps. My system:

OS :Windows 10 Pro x
Version :9200 Manufacturer :HP Model :HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Total Memory :System.Windows.Forms.Label, Text: 8072 MB Processor: Intel Core i7-6600U @ 2.60 Ghz (2 cores, 4 logical processors)

My problem is that I have so much stuff running in the background (installed by my laptop's administrators) that even with just:

  • Sublime Text
  • Chrome (4 tabs, not 40)
  • Slack
  • Skype for Business
  • Outlook

I'm already at 18% CPU occupation and 86% memory occupation.

Question: if I install Windows Subsystem for Linux as detailed here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/install-win10 will it consume further resources, even if I don't use it? Or will it consume them only when I open a bash shell?

  • 1
    WSL is a UWP application. If you don't have the application then it does not consume resources. – Ramhound Feb 27 '18 at 15:28
  • @Ramhound thanks a lot and pardon my ignorance: when you say "If you don't have the application", you mean if I don't have it open. Right? – DeltaIV Feb 27 '18 at 15:47
  • 2
    If you don't have the application running, then it doesn't and cannot, consume system resources. – Ramhound Feb 27 '18 at 17:17
  • @Biswapriyo thanks for the interest. I haven't still installed it - I was thinking to do that. Right now I've done step 1 & 2 on this page. I was thinking to install Ubuntu from the Windows Store. Do you think it's a good idea? – DeltaIV Mar 6 '18 at 18:07
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In WSL, memory and CPU are only used when you run linux applications.


Memory used by WSL

If you are not running a Linux program, the WSL does not use any memory or starts any process.

  • The first time you start a linux window, one or more init processes are started. In my Windows 10 with Ubuntu 18.04, it occupies 0.1MB in RAM and, typically, 0% of CPU.
  • The console starts multiple processes: some console windows processes, a WSL background host, an some linux launchers. In my test, all these processes occupy 13.3MB in RAM.
  • Each time you run a linux program, it will occupy the corresponding memory and CPU percentage.
  • After you close all the consoles and linux processes, all these processes are killed.

Disk space used by WSL

Note that the disk space occupied by the WSL may vary depending on the Linux distributions you install in your computer. Currently, it is possible to install multiple distributions: e.g., Ubuntu 14, Ubuntu 18, Opensuse and Kali Linux. In fact, you can create your own distributions.

When you install a Linux distribution from the Windows app store, a linux launcher is installed. The first time you run the program, it downloads a compressed file with the distribution and unpacks that file.

  • The disk space occupied by WSL depends on the linux distribution you are used.
  • Usually, the compressed file is not deleted. Then, you must consider the size of the compressed file and of the distribution filesystems.

Considering the Ubuntu distributions that you can get from Microsoft.

  • Ubuntu 14: the 14.04.5.3-server-cloudimg-amd64-root.tar.gz compressed file occupies 182MB. After decompression, it is 255MB approx.
  • Ubuntu 16: the 16.04.2-server-cloudimg-amd64-root.tar.gz file occupies 226MB. It is 672MB approx after decompression.

You may check other distributions compressed files from the LxRunOffline wiki.

  • In the meantime I changed to a Mac, so I have Linux integrated in my SO, but thanks for your answer anyway! It will be a great reference for other memory-bound Windows users who need to develop on Linux systems. – DeltaIV Jun 5 '18 at 7:54

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